Fire & smoke forces residents to temporary shelter
Emergency responders assisted residents of the Watseka Rahab & Health Care Center to evacuate the facility on Raymond Road Wednesday afternoon.
No injury was reported when a small fire in an electrical panel caused a lot of smoke., according to Watseka Fire Chief Tim Ketchum.
Ketchum reported employees at the facility actually extinguished the fire. Fire personnel had work to do in clearing smoke from the building. A box-alarm alerted neighboring fire departments.
Ketchum said other health care facilities in Iroquois County provided bus transportation in getting residents to emergency shelters.
The nearby First Christian Church is an emergency-shelter for the Peterson HealthCare-owned Watseka Rehab Center.
The fire chief said the company’s emergency operation plan worked “very well” in making sure all patients were well-cared for and the evacuation was completed. Chief Ketchum said Milford Fire Chief Frank Hines took on the Incident Command role and all working personnel did what needed to be done.
Efforts were underway to get residents returned to the Center, some even last evening. Some of the residents were bused to sister-centers nearby and others to Iroquois Memorial Hospital in Watseka for housing.